Germany’s Constantin Film has issued an apology over dialogue in its feature game adaptation Monster Hunter which led to an online backlash in China this weekend, and subsequently resulted in the movie being pulled from Middle Kingdom cinemas.
Constantin says it “sincerely apologizes to Chinese audiences for a line of dialogue contained in an early scene of Monster Hunter. There was absolutely no intent to discriminate, insult or otherwise offend anyone of Chinese heritage. Constantin Film has listened to the concerns expressed by Chinese audiences and removed the line that has led to this inadvertent misunderstanding.”
A short exchange in the film that was perceived as racist by local audiences caused a firestorm on local social media and led to the film’s run being abruptly halted on the day of its official launch.
The Milla Jovovich-starrer, directed by Paul WS Anderson, did about $5.3M on Friday in the Middle Kingdom (including late Thursday sneaks), but then disappeared from screens amid the controversy.
Tencent, which handles China distribution and is an equity partner in the film, has, we understand, been working with the Chinese government and agencies involved to remedy the situation by removing the offending scene. But it still remains unclear if the movie will be re-released into local cinemas. Also unclear for the moment is whether the lines of dialogue will be excised from versions that play in other markets.
Monster Hunter this weekend did $2.65M in five markets where Sony is releasing, and all were No. 1 starts.
The fantasy action pic is produced by Constantin, Impact Pictures, Tencent and Toho. Sony has worldwide rights outside of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, China and Japan and has a December 25 North American date lined up.